Singles Awareness Day

Red hearts everywhere. Red clothing in all shades and styles everywhere you turn. Blink and you just wont miss that fire engine red lipstick. Nothing brings home the truth about being alone more than Valentine’s Day.

Other days seem to be geared towards culture, tradition and family, but Valentine’s Day? I beg to differ. The celebrations have been narrowed down from showing all types of love, to just the one between a couple, as if that’s all Saint Valentine had in mind. For someone who has enjoyed being one half of a couple for a while, the loneliness hurts, so I would rather call it “Singles Awareness Day” than “Valentine’s Day”.

I’m learning to be alone, but sometimes the loneliness hits me like a ten-tonne truck. This particular year, I got to notice the adverts all over the place, because I am trying to use this same season to promote more giving and charity in my sphere of influence.

Sisu Prime Aromatherapy sells 100% natural, phthalate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, body and hair care products, that boost your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Our Loodus line is our first set of natural perfumes, and we are donating a part of the proceeds towards the lunch program of Street2School Initiative, a local NGO helping to keep children off the streets in Lagos, Nigeria.

sisu-advert
Sisu Prime is @sisuprime on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

I had to actually tune into all the messages and ads around, so that I could also come up with something nice enough to increase sales and ultimately make a sizable donation to the Initiative. It seems every company and entrepreneur has one form of sales or the other for this period. I am encouraged by the high number of sales tied to charity, motherless home donations and scholarships. Boosts my heart.

If you are like me, without a significant other today, I encourage you to do what I have planned: Touch someone else’s life today – be it a random stranger, or a friend that you have not reached out to check on, for a long while. Depression is eating away at everyone in our society today, and all the hype about love will only make it worse. Let us add to the other side of the equation: show love to someone that cannot expect or even afford it, today.

Above all, celebrate your achievements. Love yourself today. Give yourself a big treat – do you know how many babies were born on your birthday that did not make it to their fifth? Do you know how many others did not get to be a teenager? So many people went through just one-tenth of what you have been through to get here, yet they are gone. Count your blessings one by one.

Be grateful. I know I am.

Blue Zone for Nigeria

I recently lost a dear friend, to kidney failure and blood transfusion complications. It was heart-wrenching. This guy was a quiet, gentle and focused giant, with a ready smile for every occasion. He was cut short in his prime, and left behind no wife or child – another pain-point for me. This brought on a lot of memories, of reaching out to old friends and trying to evaluate if I am actually living my purpose.

Some days ago, I stumbled on the word “Ikigai”. Wikipedia told me that

Ikigai (生き甲斐,) is a Japanese term for “a reason for being.” The word ‘Ikigai’ is usually refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.[1] The word roughly translates to the “thing that you live for”[2] but it also has the nuance of “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” similar to a daily purpose.[3] Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values and beliefs. It reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that faithfully, while simultaneously creating a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are never forced on an individual; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly, giving the individual satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.[1]

Then I found Thomas Oppong’s Medium article on the subject and understood a lot more. Thomas mentions Dan Buettner (who deserves another article on his own, about how he has made his passion his work), who studied hotspots of places where people lived the longest, and published books on this, with titles that included the phrase “Blue Zone”.

Buettner has been able to prove that applying his Blue Zone Principles to cities can improve the overall health and lifespan of its inhabitants. The key to success involved focusing on the ecology of health – creating a healthy environment rather than relying on individual behaviors. His first try in 2008, in Albert Lea, Minnesota was successful. Other cities and communities have applied the principles successfully too.

I know these applications happened in cities in a developed country (USA), but it got me thinking: what if we could work towards creating that healthy environment in Nigeria? What if we could study the principles, and herald it to our leaders for them to use as blueprints for the next four years?

They say that our country is so unique, no theory works out of the box in it, and I agree. What if we could derive a Nigerian version, that will also allow a family on any income level to embrace the tenets that would guarantee better health, and longer, more fulfilling lives?

The Blue Zone Principles promise results in such a short time, I wonder why we have not given it a try before now. If only our leaders were readers more often than spenders. I guess we can decide the next set, come 2019 – if our votes truly count.

As for me, I am going to spend a bit of time each day, trying to figure out a way to bring this about in my environment. Do you know anyone who can help kickstart a movement?

Daydah, September 23, Writer

My birthday is in a few days, and while I am nursing a bad cold, and trying to get work done, I am actually not looking forward to it this year.

I will tell you why.

For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to make my birthday, a day of joy for others. I plan matchmaking parties (got many friends hitched this way), or outings, or even lunches, where I go the extra mile to cook up a three course meal.

But this year, I just want to run away. I want to sit and reminisce on all the years of my life. I want to contemplate on where I am now, and how I have miraculously survived on my own, as a single mother for the past two years. I want to sing to myself, laugh at my memories, cry to a stupor and smile as I remember my son’s antics.

I would prefer a spot where I can be part of nature for a while, just listening to the birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves, or the sea lapping at the shore.

Just for 48 hours.

But I can’t.

I have to be there, for others once again.

This time, I know most of the people that will reach out on Sunday will be those who care about me; those who are still not used to the idea that I might have died in 2017 and there was nothing they could have done to save me; those who remember the old jovial happy me of about a decade ago, and long to see her once again, shining with warmth, hugging everyone within reach.

I long for her too.

Ever since I got back, I catch a glimpse of her sometimes, hear her boisterous laughter once in a while. I know it will take time to heal, so I am patient with her. I know all the broken pieces of her shattered heart can only be put together in time, but I wonder.

Can the broken edges can be sealed up once again? Can she ever love again? Can she ever remember the pain and not hurt inside?

I got a mail from NaNoWriMo today. Someone there remembered my birthday. The letter encouraged me to prioritize my creativity. While it may be just another promotional newsletter to the writer, it touched me because a part of me that I wish I could revive, is my creativity.

I wish I could make one-of-a-kind stone bead jewelry again. I wish I could write again, with gusto, and actually finish a piece. In time, again, I guess.

One of the things mentioned in the mail that I did immediately, was to check for famous writers and authors born in September too.

I did not find any one for September 23. I could not believe it! I checked IMDb, and Famous people, but could not find any author, only songwriters, and lots of actors. Then I checked On This Day, and saw some, but none of them was born in my generation!

The most recent writer (not songwriter), is Peter Allen David, an American writer born in 1956. He’s still alive, known as PAD, and writer of comic books like Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Super girl and more (maybe I should consider writing comic books eh?). He also wrote Ben 10: Alien force. I like him already 🙂

So for this generation, I submit to you,

Adedayo “Daydah” Makinde, Nigerian writer born in 1984.

Watch out for that name 🙂

Sunday musings on house prices in London

It’s become a little tradition that on Sundays, my husband and I go to our nearby park, get a cup of coffee and go for a walk. We talk about various things, do a bit of people and dog watching and generally just enjoy the fresh air. One of today’s musings was about house prices…